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Afghanistan's ATMs To Resume Services For The First Time After Taliban Takeover

Afghans wait in line in front of Azizi Bank in Kabul, Afghanistan in this file photo from September 2021 (Image: Reuters/ WANA)

Afghans wait in line in front of Azizi Bank in Kabul, Afghanistan in this file photo from September 2021 (Image: Reuters/ WANA)

During the later part of 2021, after the Taliban takeover in August, ATMs dried up and people were seen queued up in front of banks outside Afghanistan's cities

ATMs will become operational in Afghanistan for the first time since Taliban takeover starting Saturday, according to reports by Afghanistan news agencies. Local media cited the press release by Afghanistan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which said that commercial banks will resume ATM services. The press release on Thursday said that the DAB is working with banks to ensure that customers are able to withdraw money from ATMs.

“Following meetings with the Afghanistan Banking Association and commercial banks, Da Afghanistan Bank has issued a circular for commercial banks on the basis of which commercial banks will be able to transfer money from their ATMs to customers at specific locations,” the DAB said in a press release originally released in Pashto on its website. It also said that it is working to restore normalcy in the banking system.

It also informed about the decision on Twitter on January 13 in a series of tweets.

Reports of ATMs drying up in Afghanistan were released by several news agencies earlier in August. A report by German news agency Deutsche Welle showed that ATMs across capital city Kabul and rest of Afghanistan remained non-functional, 10 days after the terrorist group took over Afghanistan.

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Legal news website the Jurist, which works in collaboration with University of Pittsburgh in the United States, in a report from last month also explained how the banking system collapsed following the Taliban takeover. The report highlighted woes Afghans faced in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif where more than 200 people queued almost daily in front of Azizi Bank for several hours in a bid to withdraw money. The withdrawal limit was also capped to AFN 10,000 or close to $100.

The report also detailed the plight of Afghans who lived in remote towns and travelled daily to reach cities with bank branches in a bid to withdraw cash for essentials. It said that people travelled to the aforementioned bank branch from remote towns like Samangan, Sheberghan, and Faryab to withdraw cash. The report also highlighted that at the time it was written ATM services as well as MasterCard and VISA-related services were also halted. The report highlighted that Afghans were solely dependent on physical currency soon after the Taliban takeover.

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first published:January 15, 2022, 10:44 IST